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Annadale High School's Orchestra Director named 'Virginia Orchestra Director of the Year'

Angela Ammerman of Annadale High School has been named Virginia’s Orchestra Director of the Year for the 2015/ 2015 school year. (ABC7)

Annandale High School has a new distinction: Home of the Virginia Orchestra Director of the Year. Angela Ammerman, the woman behind the title, has a passion for both music and teaching and encourages her students to use music as a form of expression. She told ABC7, "Doing music allows us to communicate without words and dig much, much, deeper."

15-year old violin student Kevin Hoang is fond of Ammerman's approach to instruction. "She has many ways she teaches us in class; very interactive as she teaches us. It's really amazing," he said. Some are amazed, others are touched by the work of Ammerman. Olivia Shawish, a 16-year-old cello student described her this way. "She's like our therapist. I go to her for advice and everything like that. So, she really cares about each and every one of us."

Ammerman has proven how much she cares by organizing a benefit concert for Shawish to cover the cost of the 16-year-old's medical care. Shawish underwent nerve decompression surgery in May after a fall three years ago.

Other accomplishments include creating a Future Music Educators Camp and coordinating a Music Major Night for students interested in pursuing a music degree in college.

Her efforts caught the attention of the American String Teachers Association which named Ammerman the 2015-16 Virginia Orchestra Director of the Year.

Ammerman is the daughter of a piano teacher so it's no surprise piano was her first instrument. In fourth grade, she took up violin and loved it. By middle school, she had chosen her future career: to be a music teacher.

Assistant Principal James Carayiannis says Ammerman's passion inspires. "It inspires people around her to want to be involved with her program, to want to be involved with orchestra," he explained.

Shawish views Ammerman as much more than a music teacher. To her, she's a second mother. "I don't know where I'd be without her. she's the most wonderful person I know," she expressed.

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